St. Joseph Community of apostolic sisters
The apostolic nun as a consecrated person and spouse of Christ should first of all take care of her unity with Jesus, of her spiritual life that is fundamental for her pastoral work. That is why the daily schedule of St. Joseph Community is centered around the participation in the Holy Sacraments and the life of prayer that sisters practice in the course of liturgical prayers or private meditation or contemplation in silence that is the most important task of a missionary sister. And the very contemplation invokes her desire and capacity to bring Christ to others.
Contemplative sisters with their separation from the world and their prayers bring people necessary graces so that they could love Christ and have faith in Him and thus could save their souls. St. Paul wrote:“How can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?” (Rom. 10, 14). The missionary community reveals the other side of the consecrated life – its task to preach the Gospel all over the world and in this way to help people meet Jesus and live with Him.
The first means for this is the Catechetic School run by the missionary sisters. On Saturdays and Sundays there gather a lot of children, adolescents, young and adult people in the Monastery and the missionary sisters teach them the doctrine of the Church, the Christian virtues, give answers to differen moral questions that disturb the minds of many modern Christians, pray and play with them.
It is necessary to find methods and means in order to explain Christ’s teachings to people of different ages and backgrounds. It means to arouse interest: to think well how to discuss a topic, what song to prepare, what film to show. The sisters need to have a moment among many everyday troubles in order to find a song or to print pictures for the kids. The preparation of the catechism takes a lot of time of the missionary sisters.
The Spiritual Exercises also take the missionary sisters’ efforts. They are organized at St. Pope John Paul II Retreat Centre that functions in the Monastery. Seven-eight times a year groups of 30-40 people (women, religious sisters, priests) come to the Monastery to pray in silence, to become closer to God and to find, under the guidance of the Incarnate Word priest, the God’s will in one’s life. Very often the Spiritual Exercises are conducted by one of the sisters for small groups of 1-5 participants or individually; they are held once a month. The sisters serve the preacher during the Exercises, prepare food for the people, clean the house so that they could feel comfortable and could pray without any distractions. It is quite an exigent apostolate that takes much time and effort of the nuns. But it is worth the trouble as it brings unbelievable fruits to the souls, mostly known to God and themselves. Though peace and joy from internal purification and meeting with Jesus can be clearly seen on the faces of people who return home very happy.
Catechism, the Spiritual Exercises as well as other pastoral activities organized by the missionary community – summer camps, Christmas presentations and pilgrimages, conferences, concerts, braing-rings and football competitions – are aimed at helping people to live with Christ. And to live with Him not only in the Monastery but in their everyday secular life. They have to take the principles of the Christian behavior, acquired during catechism classes or Spiritual Exercises, to their work place, families, schools and universities.
The Monastery in Burshtyn, thanks to the missionary community, became a place and surrounding where many families may find healthy entertainment, advice or support in case of a problem, new friends who share their Christian principles of life. The missionary sisters are called to nourish this atmosphere constantly so that those who want to be saint could strengthen their desire here.
The Monastery is not only a house with its territory. With the help of the missionary sisters the spirit of Christ dwelling here goes far beyond its walls. The sisters visit local schools and colleges teaching children and youth moral principles of life that they cannot find in the modern world. The nuns are often invited by the pastors of the neighbouring villages to work with children of their parishes. Sometimes they participate in different activities organized by the local authorities or have their own activities for hundreds of participants: Family Day, Youth Meeting, pro-life march, conferences. This work is also an important part of the missionary community.
Moreover, the missionary sisters take care of the contemplatives in their daily necessities so that they could pray and live in silence.
Besides, the missionary sisters take care of five girls who live with them all the time. They try to create a family-like atmosphere that the girls need and to give them necessary support. The girls also try to help the community in different domestic chores, each of them according to her capacities.
Finally, the life of the contemplative sisters shows that the only necessary thing is the salvation of one’s soul. And the work of missionary sisters help people to learn how exactly the salvation can be reached and to provide them with appropriate surrounding and means that can help them go to Heaven.